Oscar Directors: Hicks, Scott

Scott Hicks is the director of the new romantic comedy, “No Reservations,” starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, a remake of the German hit, “Mostly Martha.”

Hicks earned international acclaim for the 1996 box office hit “Shine,” which grossed well over $100 million worldwide following its triumphant premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film was nominated for seven Oscar Awards in all major categories, including Best Film, with Hicks receiving nominations for Director and
Screenplay. It also received eight BAFTA nominations and won nine Australian Film Institute Awards, including Best Film and Best Director, was named Best Film by the U.S. National Board of Review, and earned five Golden Globe nominations plus nominations from both the Directors Guild and Writers Guild of America.

Prior to “Shine,” Hicks made his mark as a documentarian. In 1994, he received an Emmy Award for a four-hour documentary series, which he also co-wrote, “Submarine: Sharks of Steel.” It broke the ratings record for The Discovery Channel set by his earlier work, “The Great Wall of Iron,” an extensive portrait of the People’s Liberation Army of China in the months prior to Tianemen Square, that, in 1989 won the prestigious Peabody Award for Best Documentary Series Broadcast in the U.S. Following the success of these projects, Hicks was commissioned for two additional two-hour specials by The Discovery Channel: “The Space Shuttle,” in 1994 and “The Ultimate Athlete,” which he also produced, in 1996.

Hicks’ feature film “Sebastian And The Sparrow,” which he also wrote and produced, was a winner in three international film festivals for children, including the 1990 LUCAS Award in Frankfurt. Following a successful cinema and television release in Australia, the film was invited to numerous other international festivals.

His first Hollywood film, “Snow Falling on Cedars,” was produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, with an ensemble cast including Ethan Hawke, Youki Kudoh and Oscar nominees Max von Sydow, Sam Shepard and James Cromwell. Scott co-wrote the screenplay with Ron Bass, adapted from the best-selling novel by David Guterson. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography.

Hicks also directed “Hearts in Atlantis,” produced by Kerry Heysen and starring Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, David Morse, Hope Davis and Mika Boorem, based on stories by Stephen King, with a the screenplay by Oscar winner William Goldman.

Born in Uganda and raised in Kenya till age 10, Hicks moved with his family first to England and then Australia. Poised to pursue a law/arts degree, a chance encounter with an inspirational philosophy professor turned him instead toward English, Drama and Cinema at Flinders University of South Australia, from which he graduated with honors in 1975 and received an honorary doctorate in 1997.

Hicks began his film industry career as a crew member on productions all around Australia, simultaneously bidding for contracts to write and direct short dramas and sponsored documentaries. Hicks is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He lives with his wife and collaborator-producer Kerry Heysen in Adelaide, South Australia, where they maintain their own Yacca Paddock Vineyards. Also an accomplished photographer, he has had three exhibitions of his work, which can be viewed at scotthickspix.com.

Oscar Alert

In 1996, Scott Hicks competed for the Best Director Oscar with Anthony Minghella (who won) for “The English Patient,” Joel Coen for “Fargo,” Milos Forman for “The People Vs. Larry Flynt,” and Mike Leigh for “Secrets & Lies.”